This month, I'm speaking personally as well as your speaker.
I was elected to this position by my fellow council members after representing my chapter for seven years. I believed I knew all there was to know about the council, as I was "involved" and always eager to be "in the know," while working as one of the five council reps from the Great Lakes chapter. I wholeheartedly accepted the nomination of my predecessor, Speaker Scott Warga.
As speaker, I learned about a new world. There is a balancing of many shoes. The speaker needs to assimilate information from the group leaders and council members to report to the ASHI Board. The speaker also is required to return to the council all information issued by the Board to be passed to the chapters. This I understood and accepted as my responsibility. However, I didn't fully realize that ASHI was going through some crucial and important changes that would take what turned out to be over three years with the "Study of Governance."
Yes, the governance issues were under consideration. In 1994, governance was visited by ASHI, resulting in the creation of the Council of Representatives. In 1997, a review was considered to amend the 1994 enactment. In 2008, a special task force was created comprised of Board and council members to study present-day governance and develop recommendations, if any.
Throughout the years, governance has been researched and discussed. At the time of this article, ASHI members are voting on an amendment to the Bylaws.
As I mentioned, governance issues have been a long-time personal involvement. I also found dealing with the Board and various committees and task forces challenging. The Board is the guiding force of our society. The committees and task forces are driven by specific charges. As speaker, it was my job to assist all ASHI's entities when called upon.
During the past two years, council members have been assigned to most all of the various committees and task forces. The council has assisted the Board in various endeavors as well. Hopefully, the committees, task forces and the Board have appreciated the council's participation.
As speaker, I have drawn on the knowledge and wisdom of my predecessors: Larry Cerro, Kurt Salomon, Scott Warga and, most thankfully, Bill Sutton, the first Speaker of the Council of Representatives. I first met Bill at the 2009 council meeting. Since then, I have come to count on him as a mentor, as a sounding board. Bill, thank you. Also, I thank Lisa Alajajian-Giroux. She has been a fantastic council secretary.
There's another person I must mention. When I became speaker, I told the council members that this is a single person's job. Bob Walstead, the alternate speaker, and I agreed from the beginning that we would complete the job of speaker as one. I sought out Bob's opinion on every decision. He is a friend and will make an excellent speaker for the next two years. We are one for our society. We are the single most important entity within ASHI. We are ASHI.
I sincerely thank every ASHI member, and hope I served you well. I tried my best. Keeping only your best interest in mind in whatever I was involved in. I am proud to consider each and every one of you to be my sincere friend, and I will continue to serve in your best interest as called upon.